The first of May, the Saturday of the Bank Holiday weekend. The weather was obviously a bit changeable with some sunshine, but some very dark clouds and showers about too. I managed to eke out 5 miles by walking small loops, returning to the house each time; one through Eaves Wood, one via the Cove and the Lots, and finally which took me to Woodwell.
I’m always happy to spot the mauve flowers of Coralroot. I knew that it probably wasn’t native to this area, but didn’t realise just how rare it is in the UK.
This last photo was the last of several failed attempts to catch the drama of these dark clouds with one tiny cloud on the right really catching the sun and shining quite brightly. It was quite a sight.
I would be heading out in the direction of the Howgills the following day.
Mid-April. Most of these photos are from a single day, which started with rugby training for B in Kirkby Lonsdale. The measures around the pandemic almost entirely wiped-out B’s final season with his age group team, although knee surgery would have kept him on the sidelines anyway. Hopefully he’ll soon be fit to join his contemporaries in the Colts team.
While he was training, I took my usual stroll by the Lune and through Kirkby. It’s unusual to see the river so clear.
In the afternoon, TBH and I were out completing a circuit of Jenny Brown’s Point for a change! The sunshine was still with us, but now there were very dark and brooding skies too, a combination I find irresistible.
The remaining photos are from odd days during the second half of our Easter Break.
B often does his best to present himself as a bit of a Philistine, memorably dismissing a stunning cave in the Cévennes, for example, as ‘just rocks and water’, but secretly he’s a bit of a romantic after all. He likes a good sunset and often watches them from Heysham Barrows with his school friends. I think this photo was taken on one of a couple of walks we took together in an attempt to catch the sunset from Jack Scout. We were a bit late on this occasion.
I’m not entirely sure why I was in Lancaster, possibly due to the return of BJJ training on a Saturday morning. What I do remember was how shocked I was to see market stalls and shoppers. Although I’d been back at work for a while, Lancaster always seemed to stay resolutely quiet and traffic free.
This photos is a bit of a cheat, since it’s from March. Our washing-machine conked out, and, having replaced it, over a couple of Saturdays I dismantled the broken one and salvaged the drum to use as a fire-pit.
It wasn’t until April that we put it to use, toasting some marsh-mallows…
TBH got a bit carried away…
Actually, this is typical TBH cooking – she would call this ‘caramelised’.
Early April, when the branches are mostly bare and the birds are busy mating and nesting is a great time to spot and take photos of birds. This Bullfinch photo is a bit of a cheat, since it wasn’t taken on a walk, but through our window, by where I was sitting on a Thursday evening.
On the Friday, when I got home from work, having finished for the Easter break, I headed out for a wander round Heald Brow, to the south of the village.
I think someone had been doing some major pruning, because a better view of Hazelwood Hall had opened up from the adjoining Hollins Lane. My interest in the hall is due to the gardens, which I believed to be designed by Lancaster architect Thomas Mawson, although the current Wikipedia entry is slightly confusing on that score and seems to imply, in one section, that in fact Mawson’s son Prentice was responsible, only, later on, to state that it was Mawson himself who designed the garden working with another son Edward.
Certainly the tiered terraces, the loggia and the use of stone pergolas are very similar to other Mawson gardens I’ve visited.
On Heald Brow, I noticed a Great-spotted Woodpecker in a very distant tree. I’ve included the photo, rubbish though it is, just to remind myself that I saw it, because, quite frankly, I was chuffed that I could pick it out in the tree-tops.
Likewise this Bullfinch. I know that it’s the second of this post, but I don’t seem to have seen many this year.
The Saturday was a glorious day, a great start to our holidays, so I set-off for Gait Barrows in search of birds and butterflies.
I did take no end of photos of butterflies and other insects and even more of birds, but above all else I took pictures of Primroses which seem to have proliferated all around the reserve.
There were Drone flies everywhere and I took lots of, I suppose, quite pointless photographs of them, but then occasionally what I took to be another Drone Fly would instead transpire to be something more interesting, like this Bee-fly…
I was quite surprised to see this machinery in the woods by Hawes Water, but the path from Challan Hall around to Moss Lane, which is supposed to be wheelchair friendly, had been getting increasingly muddy and Natural England were having it widened and resurfaced, so bully for them.
I can’t really identify lichens and, I think because I can’t, I don’t always pay them the attention they merit. I think this is Ramalina farinacea, but I wouldn’t take my word for it, and, looking again, I think there are probably at least three different lichens in the photo above.
Although it was months ago, I remember my encounter with this Comma butterfly very vividly. It was sunning itself on some limestone, as you can see, and I slowly edged toward it, taking a new photo after each stride. Eventually, I upset it and it moved, finally settling on a nearby tree-trunk, at which point I started edging forward again.
What struck me was that, if I hadn’t seen the Comma land, I don’t think I would have picked it out. Whilst the underside of its wings are drab in comparison to the patterned orange of the upper wings, the underwings are beautifully adapted to conceal the butterfly in a superb imitation of a tatty dead leaf.
…is a warbler. I don’t think it’s a Chiff-chaff, they have a very distinctive song which I can actually recognise, so I can recall getting excited because this had a different song. Sadly, I can’t remember the song at all, and can’t identify which warbler this is without that additional clue.
No such confusion here…
…this is a make Kestrel. I wish I’d managed to capture it in flight when it’s colours looked stunning.
And I suspect that this is a Chiff-chaff…
Though I couldn’t swear to it.
Another mystery here…
…with a bone suspended in a Blackthorn bush. I know that Shrikes impale their prey on the thorns of this tree, but Shrikes are quite small and I think that this bone is probably a bit too big for that. Also, Shrikes are very rare in the UK these days and are not generally seen this far West (although I know that they have occasionally been spotted at Leighton Moss).
I was back at Gait Barrows the following day, but the skies were dull and I didn’t take many photos. On the Monday, I had another local wander, including a visit to The Cove…
The Tuesday was a bit special, so I shall save that for my next post…
As if to prove my point that working for a living, or at least commuting to work, really gets in the way of enjoying life, my MapMyWalk account shows almost daily walks through January, February and up to the 7th of March. Schools reopened on the 8th and for the next fortnight I don’t seem to have walked very far or very often at all.
Anyway, eventually I started to get out and about again:
Whilst chaffinches seem to be flourishing, I feel like I don’t see nearly as many Greenfinches now as I did even five years ago. Hardly scientific, I know, but worrying none the less.
This one was having a good old spring sing-song. It was one of many birds in evidence in the hedges and trees in the caravan park at Far Arnside, but the only one content to pose for a portrait.
I think this was the walk when I bumped into an old friend and colleague who I hadn’t seen for years. We sat at opposite ends of a bench and had a very long chat. Some of her news was sad, but it was still good to catch up.
As so often on a walk round the coast, it was the sky and the light on the bay which were the stars of the show.
For once I didn’t go all the way around to Arnside, or climb the Knott, but at White Creek doubled back on the higher path which parallels the coastal one and returns to Far Arnside.
In the morning, TBH and I completed our usual Sunday trip around Jenny Brown’s Point.
And the afternoon brought a trip to The Lots.
A Roe Deer buck in the garden. There’s still some fur on his antlers. And his winter coat is looking extremely shabby.
A very grey day, I think. This photo from the Cove is a bit shy of any colour.
He’s back! It looks like he has some bits of moss on his antlers. My guess is that he’s been rubbing them on any available surface in an attempt to remove the itchy bits of skin.
I’m quite surprised by the very red tinge of his antlers. I suppose that’s because they still have a blood supply, although mature antlers, once the covering skin has been shed are dead bone, I think.
Another grey day. Another trip to The Cove…
Blue skies at last! And a high tide in Quicksand Pool.
The Bay is well-known for its rapid tides. On this occasion we watched what looked like some very powerful cross-currents at Jenny Brown’s Point.
Well, I must have gone back to work. I mean physically back to work, rather than working from home. Until March I’d been out for a walk most days, but then the wheels came off. Working for a living is highly inconvenient. Anyway – here’s most of March:
Spring! I’m sure that the celandines had been flowering for a while at this point, and the Cuckoo Pint leaves hadn’t recently appeared on the floor of Eaves Wood…
Maybe it was the blue skies and sunshine which made me pay attention to them. And to the wash of yellow catkins on the Hazel trees.
I do remember showing TBH the tiny red male flowers, like little starfish, on the Hazels, which apparently she hadn’t seen before.
There’s a garden on The Row which has an amazing display of crocuses every year, which I always make a point of going to see.
A walk around Gait Barrows most memorable for this pair of Buzzards. I’ve become very wary (well frightened, if I’m honest) of these birds, having been attacked a few times by highly aggressive/protective tiercels during the nesting season. On the other hand, they are beautiful birds, and I’m drawn to them, like a moth to the flame perhaps. So here, I was gradually creeping towards the tree they were perched in, hoping that it was too early in the year for them to take umbrage, but also half hiding behind a small hummock, the top of which can be seen in the photo.
The light, unfortunately, was a bit rubbish, which doesn’t really square with these two views of Hawes Water…
…which can’t have been taken very long afterwards.
I must have been a bit late leaving the house, since the sun was already setting.
To the Pepper Pot and then The Cove with TBH and ‘Little S’.
One of those days when the a layer of cloud coverage had a very visible edge with clear skies beyond.
A walk around the coast to Arnside for a pie with TBH. No return over the Knott however and not many photos either.
I’m assuming that there followed a couple of weeks of very iffy weather, because I don’t seem to have got out much until later in the month. Or a couple of weeks of extreme lassitude on my part. Or both.
So: Operation Catch-up is underway. February gets just a single post. Lots of short walks in February, nothing much further than 5 miles and often shorter than that. No ascents of Arnside Knot, but endless trips to Jenny Brown’s Point. I see, from MapMyWalk, that there were a couple of spells when I didn’t get out for several days running – I think a combination of work, inclement weather and decorating were to blame (decorating, I have decided, is one of TBH’s hobbies). As far as I remember, I only left the immediate area once all month.
I think it’s fair to say that the weather was quite variable, as you might expect in February, but as my photos show, there was some blue sky about too from time to time.
A had a physio appointment in Lancaster. Whilst she was there, I took the opportunity to have a wander around Williamson Park and the grounds of the University of Cumbria (in Lancaster, in Lancashire, I know?).
TBH and I were out for our habitual circuit via The Cove and The Lots. We met A walking with her friend S, The Tower Captain’s daughter, and their dogs Hanley and Bramble.
A couple of hedgerows close to home were cut right back, down to the ground, but the roots weren’t dug out, I don’t think, so hopefully they’ll eventually grow back. (Must check on their progress.)
I love the shape of the oaks when their branches are bare.
Several different breeds of sheep here; I think the large one in the middle foreground is a Valais Blacknose sheep, presumably enjoying the ‘Alpine’ conditions in Silverdale. I’ve been racking my brains trying to remember wether I ever noticed any sheep like this when, years ago, I holidayed in Saas Fee, in the Valais Canton of Switzerland, but I can’t recall.
One of several photos I attempted to take of the sky, which had some interesting colours, during a wander around Middlebarrow Woods, where it’s quite hard to find a view which is uninterrupted by trees.
This view was massively enhanced by the presence of a large flock of birds, which, unfortunately, were too far away to show up very well in the photograph.
A walk across the sands, the first for quite some time, with TBH and A, from The Cove to Know Point. It was clearly ‘blueing up’ as Andy often says, so I tried to persuade them both to carry on around Jenny Brown’s Point with me, but I think lunch was calling, so I had to settle for continuing on my own.
The two small figures on the water are on stand-up paddle boards, the toy of choice this summer it seems. It looked idyllic, I have to say. We debated whether we could use our inflatable kayaks in a similar fashion – we haven’t done to date, but maybe this reminder will galvanise some action on my part?
I know – it’s very odd that I’m posting pictures of our snowy garden when the country is currently experiencing a heatwave. What’s more, whilst I’ve been dashing off whole weeks with a single post, this post only covers the first of two Saturday walks at the end of the working week covered in the previous post.
We all get a bit excited when we have snow, it’s fairly infrequent here, but none more so than A. Here she is making an early morning snowman.
She joined TBH and I for a wander in Eaves Wood, which was surprisingly quiet.
Weirdly, although it remained very cloudy for most of the day, when we walked down to The Cove, we briefly had an outbreak of blue sky and sunshine.
The Lots were very busy with young and old. The humps and hollows there are perfect for some fairly safe sledging.
In the afternoon, I was out again, on my tod, but that will have to wait for my next post.
The Euros have been playing havoc with my resolve to catch up with the blog, so here’s another week-to-view post covering a walking/working-from-home week back in mid-January.
On a few occasions when my timetable allowed, I wandered over to Myer’s allotment for lunch with a view. On this occasion, I remember, it started to drizzle as I sat down with my flask of soup, and stopped just as I packed up to leave.
Photos from a week’s worth of walks from back in January. This first is from the Sunday, the day after the glorious Saturday which featured in my previous post. As you can see, the snow was gone and so too the blue skies and sunshine.
Monday must have been another drear day, because I had a reasonably substantial stroll after work, but only took photos from The Cove when it was almost dark.
On the Tuesday, I didn’t start teaching until after 11 and so took the opportunity to have a wander around Jenny Brown’s Point.
The weather was a complete contrast from the day before. I think it was even quite mild.
The tide was well in.
The drab, dingy weather returned on Wednesday and Thursday.
Around the village, people had put their Christmas lights up early and now left them up late.
Using MapMyWalk usually persuades me to take at least one photo on each walk, so that I can attach it the file for that walk. I quite like having a visual record even of the gloomy days.
Friday brought a hard frost in the morning.
And the longest walk of the week in the afternoon (only about six and a half miles).
I actually took lots of bird photos, particularly of a Little Egret which was close in shore, but the light was a bit weird…
Lovely, but weird.
Rounding Arnside Point into the Kent I was surprised to see that Hampsfell and the other hills across the river had a covering of snow.
And then, when I climbed to Heathwaite, I discovered that we had some too…
In fact, on the Knott, there was quite a bit…
It was getting late, and I had the top to myself. I was disproportionately chuffed to have found some snow to crunch, and had a good wander around the highest part of the Knott.
The weekend brought more cloud and damp.
On the Sunday, I walked our now habitual Sunday circuit around Jenny Brown’s Point not once but twice, in the morning with our neighbour BB…
And in the afternoon, with TBH.
Over the eight days represented here, I walked around thirty miles. Hardly earth-shattering, but not bad for a week when I was working and when daylight was at a premium. Working form home is a completely useless way to teach, but, from a completely selfish point of view, I was all in favour.
So, pop-picker’s, the post’s title is from a song which, I’m pretty sure, I’ve shared here before.
The weather’s variable – so are you But I can’t do a thing – about the weather
Here’s another couplet:
You dislike the climate but you like the place I hope you learn to live with what you choose
Anybody know it? It’s from an album called ‘Magic, Murder and The Weather’ if that helps?
New Year’s Eve brought a light dusting of snow. A is always keen to get out and enjoy snow when it comes, which is not that often here. We first when up to the Pepper Pot to get a view over the village and then headed down towards The Cove.
I don’t think snow usually settles on the sands of the Bay.
I certainly can’t recall seeing anything like this before. I suppose it was because it had been so cold the day before.
We were both struck by the great white expanse and the contrast with the heavy grey clouds above.
The cloud started very low, and subsequently dropped even further so that, after our walk, the village was enveloped in fog.
Later, however, it seemed that the fog was breaking-up and I set out again for the Pepper Pot. I didn’t take any photos in the fog, but it was still quite dense at home. By the time I was in Eaves Wood though I could see blue sky overhead…
Unlike snow, fog is pretty common place in this area. I can think of many occasions when I’ve thought that the fog was thinning and hoped that the small elevation of Castle Barrow might be sufficient to lift me above the fog – but I’d never actually seen that, until today…
It was an amazing sight – something I’ve seen in the mountains before, but didn’t expect to see from just 70 metres above sea level. I knew the rest of the family would enjoy this, so I phoned them and then watched as the fog continued to disperse and other bits of high ground began to appear…
Inland, to the East, Ingleborough was almost clear of mist.
For some reason, long zoom shots of Ingleborough seem to work best when there is snow on the hill.
At first, I had Castle Barrow to myself, except for this Robin, which didn’t seem all that bothered about the cloud inversion.
All in all, a very memorable New Year’s Eve, even if we couldn’t party with our friends like we usually would.